How can anyone be surprised that we are taking all these penalties? Schwartz has been an enabler in this area since day one. Perfect example from yesterday. Logan gets his PF and when he heads to the sideline Schwartz is there and how does he respond? Asks a question, nods his head and that is the end of it. WTF?!? We just went from starting at the 33 to the 18 and a nod is all he gets? Ugg.....
Now, Titus does his stupid PF contribution to the game and he is benched! Horray, Schwartz is taking a stand but........ BS, It is empty. The players know, more often than not, you are not going to be punished. Where is the bench for Logan, Grew and Nate? And that is just today! How about Peterman for all his penalties last year when he was killing more drives than Tiger Wood's mistresses! (haha!) I know what people are going to say, You can't bench the whole team. That is true but if Schwartz had been more consistent 1 month, 1 year and further back in disciplining players for penalties, in particular repeat penalties that hurt the team, we would not be where we are today.
It is amazing that Suh is still hurting this team while he is off bouncing his car off trees, light posts and drinking fountains. All this extra attention from the NFL started with Schwartz and blew up with Suh. It started in his very first NFL game when he tried to bottle cap a certain QB. Schwartz had the chance right then and there to reign him in and choose not to do so. Remember that thing I said about Schwartz enabling? yeah.
I have never seen 3 PIs in one game let alone against one player before. There is clearly a mandate against the Lions right now by the league and you know who we have to blame for it? Ourselves. The coaches first and foremost, then the players, then the management..... We have done NOTHING to dissuade the inaccurate but popular opinion that we are a dirty team. In fact, the only thing that has changed is Schwartz went from saying "they are penalties of aggression" to saying nothing at all.
Long and short of it, the ref focus on us will change when we change and that starts from the top. Mayhew needs to make it clear to Schwartz that the road we are on right now is not acceptable. He is the boss and he needs to step up or he will have failed. Schwartz needs to bench half the damn team if that is what it takes. He needs to take control of this team for the first time in his Detroit career. He has been too soft and it has exploded in his face. Finally, the players need to be play smarter.
For the last two weeks, you could see the other team goading our players on and it worked both weeks! That is one team's coaches using the other teams coaching philosophy against themselves. The NFL is a cutthroat world. If you show even the slightest weakness it will be exploited. Everyone in the NFL knows what our weakness is right now and they are exploiting it like professionals.
Ok, with all that said, allow me to move on.
We are 7-5, that is good. We are 2-5 in our last 7, that is not good. I am not a tie breaker NFL guru but I have the impression we do not control our own fate right now. First we need to win 2 if not 3 of our last 4 games to make the playoffs Next, we also need the Bears (likely) or the Falcons (far less likely) to fall of the planet and choke away the rest of their season. Finally, we need the NFC east to continue to beat the hell out of each other in their mediocre division thus ensuring they only have one team going to the playoffs and no wild card contender.
So, lets have a look at our remaining games....
Minny at home. This is a game we should win. If we lose in this game, we do not deserve to be in the playoffs anyhow. Moving on...
At the Raiders. This game is not the gimmy that many around here seem to think it is. They are the 4th best team in the league rushing and we all know how we stand up to potent rushing teams. I expect a win here but it is far from guaranteed and a lose would not surprise me.
Chargers at home. At first glance, one would expect this to be a win for us right? Well, let me ask you a question. If, on one hand you have a team that shoots itself in the foot and on the other hand you have a team that has been described as physically soft. You take that soft team, late in the season, playing spoiler to the other teams playoffs hopes after a horrid season by the chargers standards. Can you really say they are going to roll over and play dead. Can anyone say this game is a lock. This game scares me. It could well be a trap game after two wins (a big win against Oakland.) Let me ask you a serious question. Would you be surprised if the Lions stomped the Vikes, beat the Raiders and then laid an egg against the chargers? Thus leaving the last game of the season against the best team in the league vying for a perfect season as the road block to our playoff berth hopes? In their house? Nothing our team does is ever easy and this seems like the hardest path to the playoffs. Uggg
At the Pack. No idea, do they sit starters to get extra rest for the playoffs? do they go for the perfect season? Do we come in 1-2 or 2-1 over our last 3 games desperate enough to win a road game against the best team in the league? This game is a cluster F of possibilities and I do not have the time and I do not expect you to read all the possible situations I could present for you to peruse. Let me just say, I hope we get to this game without needing a win to make the playoffs.
If someone were to ask me what our chances of making the playoffs were at this point, I would probably respond with something around 50-60%. The Bears injuries have improved our chances considerably. The NFC east has helped with their inability to play much beyond .500 mediocre ball. Atlanta helped us by losing to a team playing their 3rd string rookie QB! (BTW, how the hell does that happen, not that I am complaining! ha). I believe we have the second most difficult remaining schedule. If we do make the playoffs, we will have earned it. If we miss the playoffs, I am going to spend an entire off season thinking about Schwartz's temper tantrum after the Niners game. About the example he set for his players about keeping their cool and about how the team melted down from that point on.
I started the season out giving Schwartz 4 games to prove he was our coach and it looked like he might be the guy. Then the mid season happened (2-5 in utterly ugly fashion) and now here we are, 4 games left. Schwartz, you now have 4 games to prove you are our coach again. Yeah, it does not seem fair but that is the life of an NFL coach and you will be judged how you and your team finished this season. Do they go out while continuously shooting themselves in the foot or do they raise their play to the occasion and opportunity of making the playoffs?
I know people around here think Schwartz is locked in to be our coach next season but if there were true, wouldn't he have gotten an extension by now? I think these next 4 games are extremely important for Schwartz's future career here in Detroit. Time to take ownership of your team coach. It is now or never.